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Fahamu Pecou: How Art Has Influenced the Black Identity

The date was December 3, 2021, I had been trying to lock down a interview with the man the myth the legendary Professor FAHAMU PEKOU. We first spook months ago when I was preparing to present the flowers to my brothers Ian Burke and Cedric King. Ced said you should holla at Fahamu he’s the man in the ART scenes his work is all over the world. This was like March fast forward II will try again wanted to get it done ASAP so I could prepare the roll out of the first issue of 2022. Finally, I got him on the phone he was like “ Yo I am leaving on the country in a few days let’s get it done”. I had to make this happen in two days, so I got to work

FLM: who are you?

FP: My name is Fahamu Pecou

FLM: Where are you originally from?

FP: I am originally from Brooklyn, New York but I spent a lot of time as a youth in a small town in South Carolina called Hartsfield

FLM: When did you get into Art?

FP: I have been into the art since I could hold a pencil growing up, I was always into anything creative whether that meant singing in the school glee clubs or choirs in middle school and high school I played the trombone I was a rapper you name it if it’s creative I did it. But I knew I wanted to be an artist from an early age maybe like six or seven years old, one of my favorite characters on tv was JJ from GOOD TIMES I wanted be like JJ I knew I to be artist I didn’t know exactly what that meant or go about doing it, but I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

FLM: Where has your art taken you?

FP: As I said before I grew up in a small town in South Carolina and being dumb poor so if you couldn’t walk there you weren’t going. Now every time I get on a plane 90% of the time it’s because my art taking there. My Art has taken me around the world from South Africa, North Africa, East Africa. West Africa to all over Europe. To Central and South America all over the United States and it’s a blessing. In addition to the physical place's art has also taken me to different places culturally and socially art is literally like a portal if transports you into different worlds often times it’s the world you didn’t know existed or you couldn’t imagine until you get there.

FLM: What other interest do you have outside of Art?

FP: Outside of Art I am really interested in the notions of blackness and black identity what that means what it looks like what it feels like a lot of the work that I do whether I teach it or paint it it’s about exploring those questions of identity particularly black identity. So much of the trauma and struggle that we have as black people if you trace it all the back is really about trying to understand who we are our lives interrupted abruptly during the bitter passage periods of enslavement so many of us have this disconnect from who we are. So for me I am interested in trying to mend those breaks like what does it mean to put ourselves back together.

FLM: Where is your placed it can be viewed now?

FP: I have work in a number of collections all over the world some private collections, celebrities, entertainers as well as regular normal everyday people. I have work in museums and galleries around the world as well, so it’s just been a great opportunity and experience to connect

FLM: What is the most expensive piece you have sold?

FP: The most expensive piece I sold was more of a commission I was tapped by Atlanta's transit authority called MARTA to do the artwork on four of the stations around the city of Atlanta. That was huge project that took four years to complete, but now you can go around the city and see these installations that are permanent. And what really special to me about that more than the fact that it was a huge project it was opportunity to connect with the community that those stations are in and to create something that would be uplifting to the people in those communities.

FLM: Do you feel there is value in Art?

FP: Most certainly there’s value in art but I also think that that value is actually misplaced we put more emphasis on the value in terms art as a commodity versus art as a connector. And I think that that’s really where the true value in art lies not how much it cost but how much means like what does it mean to us. I am actually really much more invested in pushing the narrative of like what art means to us more than how much it cost.

FLM: Why do you think it’s important to teach the youth about the arts and its value?

FP: I think it’s important to teach the youth about art and its value because we get so caught up in the bling. You know what i mean Like a man this cost like this a out of money you know like trying to stunt right but that doesn’t really say anything at the end of the day how much you made and how much money you spent doesn’t really matter that much but what did you leave behind what is the impact you had what is the legacy that’s really much more important to me. I think that art is one of the ways we can experience there's a saying that in the future the story will tell what happened, but art will tell how it felt. That’s what connects us to history that’s what connects us to ourselves that’s what connects us to our future generations not how much money you made but what legacy did you leave.

FLM: Do you have any siblings and are they creative also?

FP: I have three siblings an older brother, older sister and a younger sister. Growing up we were always into creative activities and things together, but I am the one that really drank the Kool Aid and became a artist but my siblings are all creative in their own right. I learned how to rap from following my brother, I learned how to dance from following my older sister so it’s like they do their thing they are creative but like I said I am the artist.

FLM: Did you know Virgil Abloh before his untimely passing?

FP: I didn’t know Virgil personally though I did have a opportunity to meet him and have a conversation with him when he had his exhibition at the High Museum a couple of years back. Even though I didn’t know him his work certainly resonated, and it was a tragic loss to see him pass. He came here did his thing he left his mark for real. I think we will continue to see, talk about and experience Virgil long after he is gone.

FLM: What lesson as an Art Entrepreneur would you like to pass on?

FP: The lessons have really come from my travels learning that it really is about the impact of art. That art is a language that allows us to talk with people that don’t speak our language who may not have come from where we come from, but we can connect through this art. And I think as a business person as a artist or even as just a citizen of this world it’s a important lesson to learn we sometimes get caught up in these silo’s we think our neighborhood is the best neighborhood out church is the best church right now ultimately these walls and barriers that we put up are superficial they don’t really mean anything art is the way for us to connect when we invest that kind of philosophy into whatever we do as business people and as citizens that’s how we make the world a better place.

FLM: Are you married, and do you have kids?

FP: Yes, I am married it’s been seven years this is my second one I was married before, but I didn’t get it right but getting it right the second time. Between my wife and I we have four kids


FP: Man listen that’s like asking me if I prefer to break my leg or my arm, I don’t skate at all but if I had to put some skates on it would be four-wheel ls at-least I can stand in those

FLM: What are your go to SNEAKERS?

FP: Go to sneakers for me Jordan 1’s or Jordan 3’s I am a big fan of the Jordan one silhouette it’s a sneaker you can dress up or dress down. I really like the Jordan 3’s like the rare drops that they do like the animal pack, different furs or the ones with the snake skins. I actually find myself collecting rare drops whether their Jordan 1’s or Jordan 3’s.

FLM: Thanks again for your time and one more thing how can our readers reach you?

FP: I can be reached online via the links below

Instagram @Fahamupecou

Twitter FahamuPecouDashit

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